Baslamic Roasted Portabello Mushroom Crustini

Lately I have been in the mood for rich, filling lunches.  With these chilly temperatures, a salad just doesn’t cut it.  I want a hearty meal that will warm me up and keep me satisfied.  When I looked in my fridge to see what I wanted for lunch yesterday I saw unused portobello mushroom sliders from dinner Sunday night.  My decision to roast them and build a sandwich came pretty quickly.
As I’m half Italian, one of my favorite marinades for just about everything is balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and garlic with salt, pepper, oregano, basil, and parsley.  Super simple yet super tasty.  This marinade really tenderizes whatever you are using it with and brings out unbelievable flavor.  To prepare the mushrooms to be slow roasted, I wipe them with a wet paper towel, cut the sides and the stem, and poke a fork multiple times in the smooth side to help absorb the liquid.  I marinate the mushrooms in the pan that I use to bake them in because I’m lazy and don’t like to wash a ton of dishes after I cook! 
While enjoying the amazing smell of the mushrooms caramelizing in the oven you can prepare the rest of these crustini.  I toasted slices of homemade sourdough spelt bread and cut them in half, but you can use your favorite bread instead.  I’m a huge sourdough fan and recently grew my own starter with orange juice and spelt flour so I basically live on the stuff;  it’s amazing!  I spread a healthy portion of heavenly hummus on top, because yum!  

Sliced avocado and cherry tomatoes make up the next layer.  Avocados are a pretty standard ingredient on any kind of sandwich for me.  And with balsamic roasted portobello mushrooms, tomatoes were a given!  These crustini combined flavors of Mediterranean and Italian cuisine, and make one delicious sandwich!  I added some raw spinach leaves, because no meal is complete without a leafy green.  Last, I cut the roasted mushrooms in half and placed them on top.  
These are super tasty and also filling.  You can substitute the mushrooms for your favorite meaty vegetable such as eggplant, cauliflower, or zucchini as the marinade works well with just about anything.  I personally love the hearty, earthy flavor mushrooms bring to this dish. Also mushrooms are my favorite meaty vegetable, therefore you will see me using them a lot in the future.  Make these balsamic roasted portobello mushroom crustini for lunch, you won’t be disappointed!
Balsamic Roasted Portobello Mushroom Crustini
vegan, dairy free (makes 8 small crustini)
Balsamic marinade:
3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp dried basil
1 1/2 tsp dried parsley
4 portobello mushroom sliders, cleaned and poked with a fork
To assemble:
4 slices bread of choice, toasted and cut in half (I used spelt sourdough bread)
1 avocado, sliced into 8 pieces
8 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 cup loosely packed baby spinach leaves
Directions:
1.  Whisk ingredients for marinade together.  Place mushrooms in an oven safe pan bottom side up and pour marinade over them.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for an hour.  
2.  Preheat oven to 350 F.  Uncover mushrooms and place them in the oven for 40 minutes.  After 30 minutes begin to assemble your crustini.  Toast 4 slices of bread and cut them in half.  Spread about a tablespoon of hummus on each piece of toast.  Place a slice of avocado in the center with two tomato halves on either side.  Lay 2-3 baby spinach leaves on top.  When the mushrooms are ready take out of the oven and slice them in half.  Lay half a mushroom on top of each crustini and serve warm.  
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